I think for many of us, we assume that the person we love wants to be loved the same way we do. Things would be so easy right? It’s like they can read your mind and understand exactly what you need. For anyone in a long term relationship, we often find out this is not the case! Have you ever said to yourself, “I wish my spouse would bring me flowers when I am not expecting it, or spend more time with me at night without electronics?” All of the “I wish” moments tie directly into different love languages. Many couples struggle with communication, which is oftentimes a result of different love languages.
In our house, we are in a busy season. Three kiddos under three, full time jobs, a forever home that needs attention, and all the things in life that make us, us. Naturally, our marriage often bears the brunt of these stressors, and having different love languages does not make things easier!
Love Language Resources
If love languages sounds like a crazy term, it comes from the book the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The books dives into the ways that people receive and show love, and how to intersect the different types of love languages. If you are in any relationship that you plan to be in long-term, being aware of your own love language and that of your partner can be extremely beneficial. For some relationships, both partners share the same love languages so they both prefer to receive and give love in the same way. Smooth sailing for those couples! In my marriage, my husband and I have completely different love languages! Having different love languages in a marriage can make for some conflict if you let it. It can lead to built up resentment when you feel like your partner is not showing you love in the way you receive it.
Take the love languages quiz at this link for yourself, or with your partner!
Regardless of how long you are with someone, there is opportunity to continue to learn that other person as they grow while you grow yourself. My husband and I continue to put in the work and continue to learn each other every day. One of the first steps we took in our marriage to learn each other better was diving into our love languages. Identifying for ourselves how we felt supported and finding ways to show that to each other was a game changer for us! If you are just starting out in your relationship or you are looking for a way to maintain your relationship health, love languages is a great place to start.
First, Learn Your Own Love Language
Check out the love languages either through the book or this website to see where you fall. You cannot advocate for what you need in a relationship without knowing what you really need! While the love languages are not the end all be all for how to communicate love, they can have a great impact on how you feel towards your partner when it comes to how you are receiving love. Have your partner do the same exercise and discuss together. The five love languages are:
Acts of Service
Words of Affirmation
My main love language is words of affirmation, followed by acts of service and quality time. Hearing words of support, love, and admiration from my spouse mean much more to me than gifts or touching of any kind. My husband could not be more of an opposite. To him, words do not matter much. He thinks meaningful gift giving and physical touch show love in a stronger way. When I first took the quiz I remember thinking how accurate the results were! It also reflected how our arguments at home usually played out, and it was super helpful having a way to identify our different love languages to each other.
Brainstorm Love Language Actions
After you have learned more about your partner’s love language, start brainstorming, Think of ways you can express your love for your partner in the ways that mean the most to them. This may be different than what comes to you naturally, so it takes some effort. When you are busy AF like we are, you do not need to make grand gestures of love on the regular. If you have the time and energy to do so, go for it! For us, time and energy are pretty exhausted by the end of the day. Using each other’s love language to show love to each other happens for us in the small moments. Things we work to integrate into our daily lives.
While grand gestures are fantastic at certain points of the year, its the work we put it on a routine basis that makes our marriage stronger. Make a list of some of the ways you could use your partner’s love language during your week and write it down. Having a written list helps you commit, and makes your relationship a priority. Here are some small examples for each love language to get started:
Acts of Service: This love language involves acting to show you care. Run an errand for your partner. Make their coffee for them in the morning before work. Load the dishwasher without being asked.
Quality Time: This love language involves focused time and attention, with no distractions. Take an evening walk together. Play a board game. Open a bottle of wine and drink it together on the porch. For all of these, it’s a great idea to put away your phone.
Words of Affirmation: This love language involves saying how you feel with words. Write your partner a note and leave it out for them. Send your partner text messages of appreciation throughout the day, Talk to them without distraction before bed and discuss anything on their mind. If talking is not your thing, look for other ways to find the words!
Receiving Gifts: This love language involves tokens of appreciation. Pick out small gifts for them occasionally as a surprise, such as flowers or their favorite lotion. Plan ahead for holidays and birthdays to find gifts that your partner will really love. Cook their favorite dinner, or pickup a case of their favorite drink at the store.
Physical Touch: Not surprisingly, this love language involves physical acts. When out in public, hold your partner’s hand. Make sure physical intimacy is still a part of your weekly time together in some form. Touch their shoulder when you walk by them, or place a random peck on their cheek when they aren’t expecting it.
There are tons of ways you can speak your partner’s love language on a daily basis and they do not have to involve tons of effort. Once you start branching out and trying some of the things on your list, it will start to become a more natural part of your relationship. You will be surprised how impactful some of these acts can be for your partner.
Related: Date Night Ideas After Baby
Keep Working At Your Different Love Languages
Nothing happens overnight, and relationships are CONSTANT work. My spouse and I started thinking about our love languages a few years ago and we still run into communication squabbles that reflect us doing a poor job caring about the differences in our love languages. Love languages is a great opportunity for you to connect with your partner and work out some kinks in your communication. Once we paid attention to each other in this way, we found a lot more joy in the small moments of our marriage and realized how to be the spouse our partner needed, even in a tough season. The days will ebb and flow, but your love doesn’t have to.
All the best,